20 October 2011

Ferries and Mini-Cruises - a growing trend

Once upon a time a car ferry was a fairly basic piece of kit designed to transport vehicles from A to B. Sometimes there was a bar, a self-service restaurant and a duty-free shop, but the early ferries were not built for comfort.

That has all changed. A modern car ferry is more like a cruise ship, with sleek lines, restaurants, bars, cinemas and sometimes even swimming pools. The cabins, especially the better specified ones, are more like hotel rooms, with ensuite facilities, proper beds and TVs.

The ferry companies realised that these facilities, often under-utilised outside the holiday season, could attract a new sort of customer, not so much interested in taking their car abroad, but who enjoyed the very experience of travelling on these comfortable ships. To further enhance the experience live entertainment is provided on board, and at the port of arrival excursions and shuttle buses ferry customers to the various local attractions.

Some of the mini-cruises allow for just a shopping trip at the destination, whereas others give the traveller the chance to spend a couple of nights enjoying cities such as Amsterdam, Bruges and Santander. The choice is yours.

The destinations served by the ferries to France, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and Spain offer ample opportunity for sightseeing. Below is a selction of links to just some of the destinations. If a short break in comfortable on board accommodation without the car to some of Europe's best destinations appeals, with none of the hassle associated with flying, , then why not check out these mini-cruises?

P&O Mini-Cruises from Hull to Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (for Bruges), and Rotterdam
DFDS Seaways have a whole range of mini-cruises from Newcastle to Amsterdam and from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark with some great offers
Brittany Ferries Mini-Cruises from Portsmouth to Santander in Northern Spain

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